Dental Fillings 101: What, When, And How

If you’ve had dental problems in the past and have visited your dentist several times, chances are you’ve already heard the term ‘dental filling.’ But what exactly is it, when do you need it, and how is it done? Read on to find out.  

What Are Dental Fillings? 

If one of your teeth has a decayed portion, your dentist will advise you to get a filling. During the process, your dentist will remove the decaying part of your tooth and fill the resulting hole with a medical-grade filler. 

Dental fillings can be made of gold, silver, composite resin, ceramic or porcelain, or glass ionomer. Every material has its advantages and disadvantages, so see to it that you choose the option that best suits your needs. Don’t worry since your dentist will help you make the right decision. 

  • Gold Fillings: Although these are the most expensive type, they can last up to anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and some say they’re aesthetically pleasing. However, it’ll take more than one visit to finish the whole procedure. 
  • Silver Fillings: Like gold fillings, these can last for about 10 to 15 years, but they’re less expensive. Also, take note that your dentist may have to remove more of the tooth to make enough room for the filling. It may also cause tooth fractures, especially to the teeth surrounding the affected one. 
  • Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings: With these, you can choose the color that matches your tooth. The filling is usually bonded to the existing tooth, providing additional support. Unlike the silver type, this requires less tooth removal, sometimes none. However, it only lasts for around five years and may chip off depending on the location. Also, it may cost twice as much as silver fillings. 
  • Ceramic Or Porcelain Fillings: This material may last for about 10 to 15 years as well. These fillings have better resistance to stains compared to those made of composite resin. However, a ceramic filling may cost as much as a gold filling. 
  • Glass Ionomer Fillings: These are usually applied below the gum line. They also release fluoride, which would help prevent tooth decay. However, this filling is weaker than a composite filling and may only last for less than five years. Furthermore, it’s prone to getting chipped and fractured. 

If you need more information about dental fillings you can look into, such as temporary and indirect fillings, you may contact Aria Dental or your trusted dentist. 

When Should You Get A Dental Filling? 

This is one of the most common questions asked by patients who may have to get the treatment. First, check your teeth and watch out for signs that you need a dental filling, such as: 

  • Dark spots 
  • A broken tooth or worn-off filling 
  • A chipped, cracked, or rough tooth 
  • Presence of holes in your teeth, which sometimes you can feel when your tongue touches them 
  • The frequent feeling of food getting stuck in and between your teeth 

Some severe signs include: 

  • Fractures: These are often caused by cavities present in your teeth. In this case, your dentist may advise you to get a composite filling. 
  • Crazing Lines: If you happen to see a crazing line on your teeth, this is because of long-time chewing or other activities such as teeth clenching, nail biting, or teeth grinding. Your dentist may suggest for you to go for a tooth-colored filling to restore the natural beauty of your teeth and cover the crazing lines. 
  • Wearing Out: Your tooth wears down as you age. However, the damage may also be caused by intense bruxism or teeth grinding, causing your teeth to get chipped and cracked. Furthermore, your dentist may advise you to get a tooth-colored filling to restore and repair the surfaces. You may also use a mouth guard to prevent your teeth from grinding against one another at night. 

How Is Dental Filling Done? 

Dental fillings can take more time depending your case. Here are the five steps your dentist may do: 

Step 1: Your dentist will anesthetize or numb the affected area.  

Step 2: Afterward, they’ll drill the area with an air abrasion instrument to remove the decayed area. Their choice of tool would depend on their comfortability, experience, and investment in that equipment. Also, your dentist will check the extent of decay and how severe it is. 

Step 3: They’ll check the area to see if all the decay has been removed. 

Step 4: Your dentist will then prepare your teeth to be filled by cleaning the cavities and removing debris. If the decay is near the roots, your dentist may cover the roots with glass ionomer to make sure that the nerves are protected. 

Step 5: After the cleaning process, your dentist will apply the filling, finish it, and polish it completely. 

Other steps may be required if your dentist applies a tooth-colored filler, such as applying the filling in layers and using a special beam of light that cures and hardens each layer. After that, they’ll remove or trim any excess and polish it. 

Final Words 

A dental filling is just one of the many procedures your dentist may advise you to get to address your oral health issues. Every treatment varies depending on the needs of every patient, so it’s important for you to ask about the options available to you. Your dentist will help you better understand what would be done to your teeth. 

Therefore, if you’re experiencing discomfort or even pain due to cavities and other types of tooth damage, call your dentist now to receive adequate treatment. 

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